There's no such thing as big data
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There's no such thing as big data

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“Big Data” is a term that’s come from nowhere in the last 5 years or so, and is now practically ubiquitous within IT. But is it useful or even meaningful? Doesn’t it put too much emphasis on ...

“Big Data” is a term that’s come from nowhere in the last 5 years or so, and is now practically ubiquitous within IT. But is it useful or even meaningful? Doesn’t it put too much emphasis on size over content or value? Does it add anything to discussions at all? Or does it actually impede communication, by obscuring crucial differences between diverse kinds of data that all require different tools, algorithms and strategies?

(Talk presented at "Big Data for the Public Sector and Business Enterprise", London 2013)

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There's no such thing as big data Presentation Transcript

  • 1. There’s no such thing as “Big Data”Dr. Andrew CleggData Analytics & Visualization TeamPearson TechnologyTwitter: @andrew_cleggOpinions are my own.
  • 2. Speaking of Twitter… Many companies think they have a “big data” problem when they really have a big “data problem.” -- @dbasch (Diego Basch), 17 Nov 2012 Followed the next day by: I interact with companies whose “Big Data” problems can be solved on laptops.2 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 3. What is “Big Data” anyway? Customer preference and behaviour data is.3 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 4. What is “Big Data” anyway? Apparently sensor data is too. Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_farm (cc) Tomasz Sienicki4 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 5. What is “Big Data” anyway? So is web crawl data.5 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 6. What is “Big Data” anyway? Definitely social media data…6 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 7. What is “Big Data” anyway? … and social media metadata. Image from http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=4697163989197 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 8. What is “Big Data” anyway? Video, audio and other media, surely.8 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 9. What is “Big Data” anyway? Health, medical and life sciences data might well be.9 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 10. What is “Big Data” anyway? So particle physics data must be. Image from Flickr (cc) “Image Editor”10 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 11. What do all these types of data have in common?11 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 12. What do all these types of data have in common? Nothing.12 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 13. What about size?13 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 14. Size isn’t everything. All laptop-sized data sets.14 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 15. What about storage?15 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 16. Pick the right architecture for the job. Table-structured, Relational database E-commerce data transactional (good old SQL) Simple, high-volume, Columnar database, Sensor data often aggregated Hadoop sequencefile JSON-based, textual, Document database, Social feeds e.g. Twitter nested structures search engine Networks e.g. social Directed or undirected Graph database connections graphs (Aurelius, Neo4j) Processed sequentially, Distributed filesystem Multimedia opaque internal structure (HDFS, Mogile, S3) Biochemical sequences Complex 2D or 3D Specialized file formats and models structure and tools These are just examples. Make the right choice for your application.16 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 17. Pick the right architecture for the job. Relational database (good old SQL) Columnar database, NoSQL? Hadoop sequencefile Document database, These are all as different from each other… search engine Graph database … as each one of them is from this. (Aurelius, Neo4j) Distributed filesystem (HDFS, Mogile, S3) Specialized file formats and tools17 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 18. What about analysis?18 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 19. Pick the right methodology for the job. Text → topic modelling, sentiment analysis, information extraction E-commerce data → propensity analysis, collaborative filtering Multimedia → speech-to-text, audio fingerprinting, face recognition Clickstream logs → frequent pattern mining, sequence analysis Proton-proton collisions from LHC → I have absolutely no idea19 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 20. So why does any of this matter?20 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 21. Because all of these phrases… “rethinking our Big Data strategy” “enterprise-ready Big Data solution” “facing the Big Data challenge” … are pretty close to meaningless.21 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 22. And statements like these… “We can’t do any of that clever Big Data stuff because we’re not collecting or storing any Big Data.” “We can’t do any of that clever Big Data stuff because we don’t have big enough hardware or expensive tools.” … are signs of opportunities being missed.22 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 23. What should we call it then, Andy?23 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 24. What should we call it then, Andy? Data.24 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13
  • 25. Thank you for listening!25 Theres no such thing as “Big Data” l 27/03/13